Update: 13:30

December 4, 2002

Students march against top-ups
Up to 20,000 UK students were demonstrating in London today because they do not want to live in a society where access to education is based on wealth, according to National Union of Students president Mandy Telford. Students from across the country were marching against university top-up fees. Former health secretary Frank Dobson, the Labour MP for Holborn and St Pancras, said earlier it was imperative to avoid the emergence of “cheque book entry” to the country’s best universities. Mr Dobson, interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, warned that top-up fees would “put off lots of potential students, particularly ones from badly-off homes, but also ones on middling incomes.” 

Professor faces new defamation trial
An Egyptian sociology professor has been freed from prison after a court quashed his conviction and ordered a new trial on charges that he defamed the country. Saadeddin Ibrahim, a professor at the American University of Cairo, was sentenced to seven years in prison in July for defaming Egypt. His new trial will open early in January. It will be the third time Professor Ibrahim has stood trial after he and colleagues at the Cairo-based Ibn Khaldun Centre for Development Studies, which he founded, were arrested in July 2000 after  announcing it would monitor that year's elections.   

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